Chapter Sixteen: Death of the Empire and A New Threat

Harry stared down at Voldemort with an unreadable look in his eyes. Finally he sighed and turned to his two companions. "We can't leave here without killing them once and for all" he stated quietly, turning back to keep an eye on their enemy.

"But Dad, we're all tired, you and Master Anakin are injured and Voldemort is several stories below us. How the hell do you expect to kill him?" Tamsin demanded.

"She's right Harry. Neither of us is in any shape for another fight, not to mention that Voldemort is a spirit possessing Sidious' body. Why can't we leave, recuperate and come back?" Anakin asked.

Harry looked at his former Padawan and close friend. Anakin looked exhausted, he could barely stand up and there were a number of wounds that were oozing blood, albeit slowly. He sighed, knowing that he probably didn't look any better.

"We have to do something now because Voldemort knows where we live. Do you really want to be fighting to defend the Temple a few days from now against the army that Sidious and Voldemort can bring against us? Besides, who said anything about another fight? I'm not talking about fighting them again; I'm talking about a quick, clean execution."

"Isn't that against the Code Dad?" Tamsin asked, puzzled.

Harry smiled grimly at her. "Normally you'd be right but this is war and they're too dangerous to be left alive. If we don't kill them now they'll turn the galaxy firmly against us and the Rebellion will fail."

"But how are we going to get to them, much less kill them?" Anakin queried, having sat down on a nearby chair that had survived the massive fight.

"Simple" Harry replied before leaping out the window, transforming into Goldshadow in mid-leap. He flew down to Voldemort and picked him up in one paw before flying back up to the remains of Sidious' office. Dropping the Dark Lord on the floor he transformed back and promptly bound him with ropes and petrified him so he couldn't move.

"There. One Dark Lord, well, two really if you count Voldemort's spirit as one and Sidious as the other" he said with a smirk. Tamsin and Anakin were staring at him in shock.

"Your father's crazy" Anakin finally remarked.

"I know, but what does that make you? He trained you after all" Tamsin joked back. This earned her a gentle smack on the back of her head as they stared at Voldemort who hadn't acknowledged their presence beyond glaring at them as he was busy waging a mental war with Sidious.

"You imbecile! I had them defeated until you stepped in!" Sidious snarled at Voldemort. Voldemort merely laughed at him. "Oh please. They would have killed you had I not taken possession of your body. Now I get to remove Potter and then I'll leave so you can deal with Skywalker."

"In case you haven't noticed you miserable excuse for a Dark Lord, we're practically immobile! We've got several broken bones, a couple of nasty lightsaber wounds, pieces of my desk imbedded in our chest, a broken ankle and to top it all off, Potter has frozen us stiff! How do you plan to get us out of this mess?!" Sidious screamed.

"Keep your hair on, well, what hair you have left" Voldemort said before concentrating his magic. Sidious' body began to glow as the magic increased.

Tamsin noticed the glow and tugged at Anakin's sleeve.

"What is it Tamsin?" Anakin asked, distracted from his argument with Harry over how best to go about killing a spirit. He noticed the glowing and his eyes widened. "Uh, Harry, we have a problem" he stated, activating his lightsaber and holding it in a defensive position. Tamsin followed his lead, but Harry stood there looking unconcerned.

"Accio Voldemort's spirit" he said, pointing his wand at the Sith Lord on the floor. The glowing intensified as the petrification spell wore off, and Voldemort was drawn from Sidious' body, screaming with rage.

Harry glared at the spirit of his enemy before nodding to Anakin. "You deal with yours and I'll deal with mine" he said, concentrating all his magic and willpower on getting rid of Voldemort for good. Anakin grinned at him and then glared at Sidious who was looking up at him with a fearful expression on his face.

"Please don't kill me" the Sith whimpered.

"Did he just whimper?" Tamsin asked incredulously. Anakin nodded.

"Yeah he did. Rather pathetic really, isn't it. Still, I have a job to do."

He walked up to Sidious and with one clean stroke of his blade, the Sith Lord's head rolled out of the open space where the window had been.

"Done" he said, before collapsing onto the floor as his legs finally gave way beneath him. Tamsin tried to help him up but ended up falling down beside him as he was too heavy for her to physically lift if he wasn't helping.

"Don't worry about it, let's just rest and watch your Dad get rid of his enemy" Anakin said tiredly, putting an arm round Tamsin. She leaned into his shoulder with a sigh. "Do you think Dad will be OK? He did see my grandparents die right in front of him" she whispered.

Anakin frowned. "It will take some time but he'll be OK eventually. They knew they were going to die Tamsin, and they told him that before the battle. He knew, at least subconsciously, what might happen, and that will help a bit. It won't completely ease the pain but it will help. Finally eradicating Voldemort will also help too."

"Yeah. Go Dad" Tamsin mumbled, closing her eyes. Anakin chuckled softly as she fell asleep against him, worn out by the entire ordeal. He was feeling rather tired himself but he kept his eyes open, more out of a need to make sure that Tamsin was kept safe than any real desire to watch the battle being played out in front of him.

Harry and Voldemort had been circling each other for the past few minutes, each totally focused on the other. Harry had peripherally registered Anakin killing Sidious and then collapsing but he knew that his former apprentice was fine, just a bit tired and sore. The same went for Tamsin so Harry was free to keep his full attention on his enemy.

"Had enough yet Potter? I killed your parents, and when I'm done with you I'll kill your family as well. You'll die knowing that you failed to protect the ones that mean most to you" Voldemort sneered.

Harry yawned. "Oh please. Sidious is dead, and I'm not the scared child I was when I faced you last time. I'm just letting you blow off steam before I kill you. There's nothing you can do to anyone anymore" he said with a smirk.

"Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort hissed. The spell fizzled and died. He looked shocked, while Harry just smirked at him. "Didn't you know that you need a body to cast spells? You didn't? How sad. Well, I'm afraid that this is the end of our chat, it's time for you to go back where you came from."

Harry gathered all his magic and a healthy helping of the Force as well, focused it all into one bright beam of light and encircled Voldemort with it. The Dark Lord looked shocked as light continued to wrap around him, binding him tightly. Once he was encased from head to toe in the light, it constricted, sucking in all of the Dark Lord's spirit and completely eradicating it once and for all.

Harry collapsed on the floor as Voldemort disappeared, the light fading as it finished its work. None of the three Jedi could hear the cheering and screaming on Yavin, but Harry smiled as he saw two spirits appear in front of him.

"Well done son" James said quietly. Lily nodded, her eyes shining. Harry just smiled up at them. "It's over. They're both gone. Now can I sleep?"

Lily chuckled. "Yes. Sleep Harry. Then go back to Yavin and begin to rebuild the galaxy."

Harry nodded and closed his eyes. Seconds later he'd fallen into a deep sleep, never feeling his body being levitated onto the Marauder courtesy of Tamsin, and never noticing when Anakin sent the ship into hyperspace on the first leg of the journey home.

"Dad? Dad wake up" a voice said, intruding on his pleasant dream of being in one of Yavin's natural hot springs with Ginny with neither of them wearing anything except a pair of swimsuits.

"Huh. Where are we?" he mumbled, opening his eyes. Tamsin's face filled his field of view and he yawned. She pulled back, wrinkling her nose.

"We're on the final approach to Yavin Dad, you need to wake up and prepare to face our welcoming committee. And use some breath freshener" she answered, leaving his cabin to give him some privacy.

Harry yawned again and got up, stumbling into the onboard fresher, emerging cleaner and more alert. Dressing in a clean uniform that was always kept on board he went up to the cockpit.

"Morning Harry. Sleep well?" Anakin asked, keeping one eye on the planet that was on the viewscreen. Harry snorted. "Like a log. Did you and Tamsin get any sleep on the way back while I was imitating a dead tree?"

Anakin chuckled. "We slept while the ship was in hyperspace. You must have used up a fair bit of energy, even I only slept for three days. Tamsin was asleep for two but you've been asleep for a week."

Harry just shrugged. "Par for the course when eradicating Dark Lords. Have you seen Voldie anywhere?"

"No. Whatever you did it pretty much got rid of him for good" Tamsin commented from her position in the copilot's seat. Harry raised an eyebrow. "Well that's good. We can now relax and look forward to rebuilding the Republic."

As the Marauder landed, Harry and Anakin looked at each other. "Ready to go face the crowd?" Harry asked with a smirk. Anakin shook his head. "Not really but they are just our friends and family. How hard could it be?"

They rose and Harry lowered the boarding ramp. Taking a deep breath, they walked out to find Mace, Ginny, Snape, Draco, McGonagall, Obi-Wan, Luke, Padme, Yoda and Leia waiting for them. They smiled as Ginny and Padme promptly tried to hug the life out of them, but their eyes swept the rest of the clearing. Seeing no-one else, Harry looked at Mace enquiringly.

"We felt that you shouldn't be overwhelmed with congratulations when you first arrived" Mace explained. Harry grinned at him. "Much appreciated Mace, thank you. I suppose the party's over already?"

"Hell no. We were just waiting till you got back to start it" Han said from the doorway leading into the Temple. Leia grinned at him and then led him over to the two men that meant the most to her in the entire galaxy.

"Is there something we should know?" Anakin asked, looking at their joined hands. Leia and Han both looked at him calmly. "Yes. I asked her to marry me and she accepted" Han answered after a brief moment of silence.

"Without consulting either Anakin or I?" Harry interrupted with a frown. Leia turned to glare at him, a glare that was met with a cool stare in return. She dropped her gaze as Harry continued, "Despite her age, Mr Solo, she is not yet a Jedi Knight and therefore any marriage proposals should have been run past both her father and myself. Until we have said yes, no marriage will take place."

"Even if I said I was pregnant" Leia asked challengingly. Harry and Anakin stared at her and then at each other. "She's yours" they said simultaneously before shaking their heads and turning to glare at her.

"Is this a ploy to get us to say yes or are you really pregnant?" Anakin asked in a soft, deadly tone. Leia swallowed, she could count the number of times her father had been truly angry with her on one hand. "A ploy. We haven't done anything" she said quickly. Anakin looked relieved.

"Good. Well, lead us to the victory celebration. We can discuss any upcoming nuptial plans later" he said heading for the door. Harry followed him, and their friends and family crowded round as an honor guard.

"CONGRATULATIONS!!!!" yelled several hundred Jedi, Rebel Alliance members and Earth representatives. The two Chosen Ones stopped abruptly, almost deafened by the noise. "Er, thanks" they replied rather lamely, allowing themselves to be hugged and congratulated as they moved through the crowd. An indeterminable amount of time later they found themselves being called on to make a speech.

"You go first" Anakin hissed.

"No you go. You're the one that got rid of the real menace to the galaxy, I just got rid of a parasite" Harry hissed back. The whispering continued back and forth until Ginny stood up.

"Both of you are the heroes of the hour now for Merlin's sake, START TALKING!"

"Right" Anakin said looking rather embarrassed. "Um, most of you here know that I was the Chosen One of the prophecy, what you don't know is that without the help of a lot of people, I wouldn't be standing here today and the galaxy would be a much worse place. Uh, the list of people is really too long to say here so just know that I am grateful to all of you for helping me achieve my destiny. Perhaps the person that I owe the most thanks to, however, is standing right beside me. Harry saw in me someone that was worth training as a Jedi, and never wavered in his support of me, even during that horrible time when Sidious possessed me for a brief period. He was able to help me through that and a week ago now; we got rid of Sidious forever. I know that I was the one to strike the killing blow but without his help, and my Padawan's help too, he would still be alive. Thank you."

"Now you Harry!" Obi-Wan called from the crowd.

Harry coughed. "Okay. Well, thank you to Anakin for getting rid of that pestilential Dark Lord known as Sirius – oops, I meant Sidious" he said, getting a chuckle out of the audience. "What Anakin said about me being his greatest support person, well, that may be true but I was backed up by a lot of other people as well. He had more support than I think he knew, but support means very little if you're not willing to actually step up and do the job. We owe him a big round of applause, and a huge amount of gratitude for stepping up and doing the job. Well done Anakin. Also, you lot might consider us the heroes, but everyone here today has worked to the best of their abilities to bring down the Empire so really, we're all heroes. You guys tackled the body of the Empire while we just went and cut off the head."

The applause almost brought the roof down, and both Harry and Anakin were very embarrassed when it ended. He and Harry stepped down off the impromptu stage and made their way to the refreshment area.

"Nice speech" Snape said from Harry's left side as they sat down. Harry turned to face him. "Thanks" he replied, accepting a simultaneous hug from Padme, Leia and Tamsin.

"Thank you for getting rid of Voldemort for good too" the ex-spy said seriously, which caused Harry to look at him fully. "He was nothing more than a parasite really; it was easy compared to what Anakin had to do. He's the real hero, not me. That's the way I want it to stay too" he said firmly, taking a sip of the punch.

"Whether you want it or not, all the people here consider both of you as heroes. Accept it Harry, you'll make yourself miserable if you don't" McGonagall said with a smile, coming up and hugging him briefly.

Startled by this show of affection, Harry nonetheless hugged her back. "Um, OK Minerva. Sit down, have a drink" he said, offering a glass to her.

"What will you do now?" she said, having refreshed her fluid levels. Harry just smiled. "Relax, enjoy life, and begin rebuilding the Republic. Padme has already said that she'll help with setting up the Senate again but after that she's retiring and coming to live here with Anakin. We will also slowly begin to re-establish the Jedi Order on Coruscant, although we'll keep the Temple here as well, as a sort of outpost area."

"Mhmm. What about Tamsin and Leia. Oh and Luke as well. Will they be knighted soon?" McGonagall asked.

Harry shrugged. "Don't say anything to them but yes, in a couple of weeks, we'll knight all three of them. They deserve it."

"And Leia's comment about her and Han?" Snape asked with a smirk.

Harry snorted. "I almost had a heart attack when she said she was pregnant. No, we'll allow her to marry Han, he might be a former smuggler but he's a good man and he obviously loves her."

"You'll just make them sweat a bit first" Draco remarked, having come up and heard the tail end of the conversation.

"Yeah something like that" Harry laughed.

After finishing his drink, he got up and circulated through the crowd, seeing relief and hope in everyone's eyes. Escaping out a side door he spent a few moments looking up at the stars.

"What are you thinking?" Ginny asked from behind him. Harry turned and smiled, pulling her into a hug.

"How lucky we are to still be here, as well as the work ahead to rebuild. The Emperor may be dead but I know a few Imperial admirals who won't come in quietly. We may have a smaller fight on our hands to get them to concede."

"I don't think so" Padme said, having followed Ginny outside. Harry raised an inquiring eyebrow at her. She looked up at the stars for a few moments as well before saying, "That battle was broadcast all over the Holonet. All the Imperials that are still alive have capitulated, none of them wanting to face being hunted down by Jedi that may or may not include either you or Anakin. Once the party's over we'll rebuild but it won't be as hard as you think."

Harry smiled at her. "Thank you Padme, that makes me feel a lot happier" he admitted. Padme smiled back. "Good. I should go rescue Anakin, he's been cornered by some of the younger Padawans and needs help I think."

Harry and Ginny chuckled before going inside as well. The party lasted until the dawn of the next day. If an Imperial had landed on the planet, they would have been able to walk around unmolested as Jedi and Rebel Alliance soldiers alike were sprawled everywhere, fast asleep. Harry had fallen asleep in the Initiate dormitory common area as Goldshadow and many Initiates were cuddled up to him. Tamsin, in her panther form, was curled up underneath his left wing, and Leia was cuddled up under his right wing. None of the senior Jedi who woke up early and witnessed this sight had the heart to move any of them and they were left undisturbed.

Six months later

Jedi Knights Leia Solo and Tamsin Potter were flying their X-Wings on a routine scouting mission around the Outer Rim to check that there were no rogue Imperials that hadn't yet come in and surrendered. They were just about to head home to Coruscant when Tamsin spotted something on her scope.

"Leia, I've got something strange here. Looks to be near the Unknown Regions" she said over her comm. unit. Leia frowned and looked up to see if she could physically spot the unknown entity that her 'sister' had picked up.

"What is that thing?" she breathed, halting her forward momentum. Tamsin halted beside her and both Jedi stared at the massive ship-like thing that had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

"Are you getting any life readings?" Leia asked. Tamsin nodded.

"Yes. But there's something wrong. The computer's picking up loads of life signals but I can't sense whatever they are through the Force. It's like there are a whole load of living beings on that ship that have no Force presence."

"Whatever it is, and whatever they are, we should report it to the Council. Lets head back" Leia decided. The pair swung their fighters round and jumped into hyperspace, heading back to Coruscant.

"You're sure about this?" Anakin asked as they gave their report to the Council. He had joined Harry on the Council permanently when Yoda and Mace had both died from natural causes. Their deaths were mourned by all the Jedi and the remaining Council members had voted for Harry and Anakin to take their places. It was an appointment that they had only reluctantly taken, although they had settled into it and were even enjoying it now.

"Yes we're sure Master Skywalker" Tamsin said, almost rolling her eyes. Two things stopped her from doing so – one she was a Jedi Knight and it wasn't polite to roll her eyes at a Jedi Councilor even if said Councilor was her former master, and two, her father, who was looking at her with a thoughtful frown from his own Council seat, would have taken her to one of the training rooms and killed her in a 'training' duel.

"This is worrisome news" Adi Gallia said slowly. The other Council members nodded. "Yes it is. We need to find out who these new invaders are and why they've come here" Siri Tachi said firmly.

"Invaders? They might be trying to open up negotiations to join us" Obi-Wan objected. Siri gave him a scathing look. "Since Knights Solo and Potter spotted them, we've received reports that these new... whatever they are...have attacked several Outer Rim settlements. Their technology is unlike any we've encountered before."

"Master Potter, Master Skywalker. What do you think of this situation?" Adi asked. Harry and Anakin looked at each other, having a private mental conversation. Finally Harry answered, "We're not sure. What we do agree on however, is that Master Tachi is right. This is a likely a scouting force, preparing the way for the main invasion."

As the Jedi Council digested this alarming news Anakin said in a morose tone, "I fear that we have just recovered from one war only to be thrust headfirst into another – and this one we may not be able to win. "

Author Note

Hello my faithful readers. A quick note just to let you know that I'm taking a small break from Walking A New Path while I let my brain come up with suitable ideas for the last two stories in the series. I am also working on other stories, including an original one which I'm hoping to get published one day although that may not happen. So if it takes a while to get the fifth story of WANP up, please understand that it is likely to be because I'm working on one of my other four stories that are currently underway, or my original one. I will not abandon this series.

May the Force be with you

Padawan Lynne